With the party ready to sap a wall into the tower Gottri lets the team know there’s a patrol on route. After hearing a roar moving away the team looked on a group of confused Bugbears. Once Harrimore moved past Erymos to the tunnel entrance he began casting. The charging bugbears started dropping as arcane magic lanced through several of them before Harrimore and Grunk hacked them down to the last one running back towards their patrol captain. The group followed while Torsten and Erymos finished off the last of their numbers. Harrimore and Grunk cut down the last fleeing bugbear before seeing Gottri taking a flying leap from a craggy rock outcropping to take out the captain of the bugbear patrol. While deftly blocking his Morningstar the dwarf planted his feet getting inside the larger bugbear’s guard only to show him a blade covered with his own blood from another wound. Turning around to call for help gave him the picture of his last man falling to the ground with a leg flying off in a different direction from Grunk’s final attack. Once seeing everything fade to black he woke up in a cave.
When he did wake up he immediately demanded to be untied or killed. In his native tongue, with the mage talking to him it turned into a downward slope. He explained he would only help up if he could take over the tribe and basically take out the leadership above him. Calling Erymos a weak little man got Erymos snapping and yelling at him to ‘Look at him!” as he flailed his arms in a wizard’s robe. It was obvious he was weak since he was the mage of the group. Leading his quarterstaff onto the man’s gaping wounds and continue the conversation didn’t get much farther since as it moved over to common so the rest could understand the Mage reminded the group of what they did to flip Terrance. Granted since this bugbear seemed way too eager to have us slaughter people to get ahead with very little work it made him wonder about the scenario, letting Terrance live before ending up biting them in the end last time having to put him down rather horrifically (Death by broken neck from falling off a horse and a bolt through the chest). Eventually the bugbear having made his peace locked up with torture going no were. The group killed him and moved with only thirty minutes passing to clear up signs of the patrol and the scuffle. In the tunnel to finish sapping the wall it went surprisingly easy. Gottri scouted ahead finding a slave driver, and people in chains, cooking people. Harrimore, Torsten, and Grunk were having none of it and as the party tried to figure things out on a plan Gottri went back over seeing a chance he attacked the slaver. Erymos cast a spell on Grunk causing him to bound the distance he needed in one stride to kill the man.
Going back to the kitchen Gottri had several people starting to ask to be freed. Erymos went back and searched the jailer. With the freed people going into a panic Harrimore calmed them explaining how they could get out. Gottri gave them the horn once they were a good thirty minutes away from the tower to blow and then run away back to their villages. This calmed them some plus meeting local celebrities turned into the eccentric Mage giving out a business card and asked for people to mention who saved them to people. After mentioning ‘branding’ and getting the people armed with kitchen cutlery they were told to meet up with Hoofcrest a flying horse that could guide them to safety. Going back into the hall once done the party saw the dead slaver while the escaping prisoners fled. Erymos suggested putting him in one of the ovens and the body was dragged in. He stopped them for a second and shook his head striping off the armor and such and putting salt and herbs on him before shoving the body in and setting the temperature low.
With the horrified looks from the rest of the group the mage explained if it looked authentic they wouldn’t know it was a bugbear in there, plus a cook can’t search crappy food if he has pride. The party asked what that actually meant while investigating the waterfall stairs. Gottri found out it was magical. Investigating further around the basement had the group unlocking the cages to several more prisoners covered in butter and herbs.
Getting them freed by Gottri, calmed down by Harrimore, used as advertisement by Erymos had them washing off in the waterfall before getting dressed in leftover clothes from those already cooked, putting one guy in charge, giving him a heavy crossbow and a business card the party sent them off as well to catchup with the rest of the escapees.
The basement revealed a wine cellar designed by a mage it seemed since although it was several hundred years old the wine was actually still quite good, with Grunk just slugging back a bottle to test it in three gulps. Erymos started muttering numbers and pricepoints before shoving several bottles into his robe. Gottri asked if we were going to just take the whole stock to which Erymos replied ‘Yes, but later… also these are mine in my robe’. Another room revealed a magical herb garden on auto watering which was nice. Not having time to grab everything Erymos with his knowledge of plants opted to take what he thought was the most beneficial and another potted plant for immediate transplanting.
With the final door saying Laboratory Erymos debated it and mentioned Gottri should look everyone for traps even himself. Before he opened the door he looked at the rest of the group and reminded them if he did anything out of the ordinary to stop him. Harrimore reminded him he was an odd little man. Erymos corrected the statement saying him doing anything brave or out of the ordinary for him. Once the room was clear and Gottri called him in to see some monster Erymos walked in and looked around. The creature Erymos explained as a ‘girl with long eye lashes’ getting a raised eyebrow from most in the group. Gottri was the one who heard him explain he was going to free hear. Controlled by the monster Erymos started casting a spell since people seemed to want to stop him. Gottri tried to hold him down but several years of being around Fallen had toughened the mage.
Granted the paladin picking up him by the head and shaking him brought Erymos back around to his usual pathetic self since he started screaming for everyone to get out and don’t look on listen. Harrimore covered Erymos’s mouth and eyes with a hand and drug him out so he was harmless. With the creature begging to be let out and for the group not to go Erymos under duress motioned for someone to close the door.
The group mage opted to say they put a pin in the door and come back later; they had bigger fish to fry, since no one had gotten in there yet if the girl could wait a few hundred years a little longer or being buried forever couldn’t hurt. When Erymos started pulling out leather pants to wear since he noticed his current ones were soiled they knew he was back to normal since he took a few seconds to decide.
Going up to the next floor, Gottri found an entryway with several wall scultures. With the party trying to figure out if it was Frandor’s Keep Grunk actualy went into the explaination of the time and era they were from and what it was related to. With a large set of heavy bars dropping behind them slits opened up and the party looked at Gottri, ‘There are no traps?”[/b] Erymos said cynically before the bolt started flying. Harrimore and Grunk tried to bend the bars while the party got peppered with bolts. Erymos managed to get off a spell gumming up the murder holes with toxic web. The group took several more arrows from the other side though but the bars were bent open. Most were able to dive out except the mage who was bloodied and battered and dragged out by Gottri. While the rest of the group looked for the entry into the secret room Erymos quaffed a potion. With the door found behind a tapestry of a door opened Erymos shoved his way to the front reaching to his side. Telling the group to get ready to close the door he gave them sage advice.
”Never piss off the mage.” Erymos warned them before grabbing what looked like a ball of fur from the small cage on his hip. As he threw it the bugbears were surprised to see it grow in size to a massive horned great owl beast. With three murderous predators in the room now Erymos closed the door and looked to Gottri and asked to grabbed some of the climbing spikes to bar the door. Inside the scream and screeches were heard, Erymos whistled calmly as he worked on barring the door letting the group know everyone even the odd ones had a dark side. Harrimore and Grunk looked around when they heard cries for help the other side clamoring at their own hidden door.
With Harrimore and Grunk ready the largest of the bugbears charged out only to be knocked back into the room missing and arm from Harrimore, another took his place to get shoved back by a flashing glaive tip before he fell to the ground. With Torsten and Gottri covering the rear Erymos saw another door open to which he tossed out another web limiting how many could get out. With two in the main hall Harrimore and Grunk took out the other murder hole kill team of crossbowman. Torsten went toe to toe with one as Erymos saw the other coming at him. He yelled to Harrimore and Grunk he was coming towards them as he started backing up with his quarterstaff in hand. For a ‘weak human’ Erymos got surprisingly good at defense when it was one on one. He didn’t hit back but he didn’t have to as he felt two very large men behind him. Seeing the pile of dead bodies and the Paladin and Fighter rushing him he was cut down before he could do anything. The one on Torsten was hacked to pieces midswing before the group tried to figure out what to do to the ones in the mess hall Torsten said they were coming out of. Looking to Erymos who was looking at the pinned door explaining his Owlbeasts were still eating. Asking Grunk to bash the wall for a bit of rubble for a spell Erymos canceled the web spell and tossed in a magical grenade stunning the group before they rushed toward the door, Harrimore and Grunk started cutting through their numbers. When Harrimore severed the head of one of the bugbears blood spattering on the last living four bugbears Grunk said something surprising.
”I’m your new Chief, surrender or die.” was a pretty good deal considering what had happened.
The final four dropped their weapons and prostrated before Grunk. He oddly enough just smiled but didn’t kill them.
Getting a volunteer Erymos had one of them help him get the door open. When he tried to get his Owlbeasts into the cage it was awkward when he realized it didn’t work and closed the door behind the bugbear and asked for another volunteer. Hearing the clear songs of the owlbeasts eating Grunk was a little disappointed until Erymos explained he had asked if there was any way to kill Grunk. Getting a second volunteer got similar results. The third was quite nervous for such a large creature and Grunk was actually watching now, some quick thinking had the volunteer tossing in a fresh corpse by Erymos’s suggestion and he was able to capture his pets finally.
The final two bugbears lead the way and pointed out the throne room where the chief was. When they thought the job was done Grunk reminded them they fight or die. Erymos shook the cage and mentioned possibly both if they didn’t do as they were told.
With Erymos’ planar servant being summoned and a torch being lit Erymos got into an argument with his servant. The master reminding him to always toss the torch so he would be in the blast was always forgotten and Erymos stated this was never his fault for what happened to the bore invisible servant. What happened next was pure chaos. The two ‘loyal’ or ‘deathly afraid for their life’ bugbears breached the room and started attacking their upper leadership apologizing. Supposedly one of the two the ‘sergeant’ had ‘kids and couldn’t die like this’ but they still made short work of bludgeoning their former comrades that were unarmed up and down while crying. The obese bugbear chieftain rushed the group the other side of the table standing not noticing the bobbing torch behind them before it exploded killing them. The chieftan went down quickly between Grunk, Harrimore, and Gottri.
Erymos muttered for Grunk to ‘give them the speech again’ to which he offered them death or being his new ‘tribe’. Since the last four didn’t want to die they surrender. Fortunately the great owl beasts were in the cage so the bugbears didn’t need to volunteer for anything.
Asking the remaining survivors how come there weren’t more they explained some had gone out to find why the horn was blown. With the group wondering what to do they took a breather. The last hour or so had been surprisingly productive for exploring the area.